PLEASANT VIEW — The city council has unanimously approved a variance that will allow Straw Market owner Lee McDonald to have a beer license at his store.
McDonald originally applied for a beer license for the Straw Market, at 879 W. Pleasant View Drive, in 2007 and it was approved at that time. However McDonald never used the license and did not reapply for it until now.
He said he never used the license because a customer told him if he sold alcohol, he would not have any customers. He also said he considered the cost of training and hiring someone old enough to sell beer.
Another issue in 2007 was advertising. At that time, McDonald agreed not to have advertising for the beer in front windows, and said he would limit the beer and advertising to two cases in the back of the store.
Mayor Doug Clifford said he was present when the first license was issued.
“We spent about six months as a council going over the whole alcohol ordinance on the books,” said Clifford. He asked the council members if they now were comfortable with reinstating the license.
Clifford said other businesses in surrounding areas sell beer, and it is customary for it to be sold where food is also sold.
“There is not a huge request for alcohol, but more people are coming in and saying where’s your beer,” McDonald said. “We are beginning to look odd. We are trying to remain profitable with every little pocket of business.”
The city’s ordinance includes a 500-foot limit as to how close to churches alcohol can be sold, so the council discussed the fact that a church service is held in the basement of the Straw Market on Sundays.
McDonald said the store is not open during the church services.
Clifford said the state has become much more flexible in its alcohol laws since 2007 and he suggested it is time for Pleasant View to review its ordinance pertaining to alcohol permits.
He said there is a clause stating businesses that regularly sell alcohol cannot apply for an event license for a single event with alcohol, and perhaps the city needs to look at changing that.